Low-alcohol and alcohol-free variants of beer were the major drivers of beer consumption volumes in 2015, according to consumer insight firm Canadean.
The company’s latest report states that due to the increasing health and wellness trend, low alcohol beer volumes in West Europe have been growing by 1% annually. Meanwhile, alcohol-free beer recorded growth of 7% in 2015, and was the fastest growing segment by alcohol strength over a seven-year period.
Germany is a key driver of West Europe’s low and non-alcoholic beer volumes, accounting for over half of low alcohol and alcohol-free beer consumption. Growth in Germany’s low alcohol beer and alcohol-free beer volumes outpaced that of West Europe in 2015, at 5% and 3%, respectively. This growth can be attributed to the strength of the domestic industry, as Germany boasts the most popular brands in both strength segments, with Erdinger Alkoholfrei (Erdinger) generating the largest alcohol-free volumes, and Oettinger Radler (Oettinger Bier Brauhaus) leading the low alcohol segment.
Besides health, the low alcohol/alcohol-free market has also been affected by legal and economic factors. A number of West European countries are strengthening their drink-driving restrictions in a bid to tackle incidents of dangerous driving caused by alcohol intake. Additionally, low-alcohol/alcohol-free beer variants are less expensive on average than their regular strength counterparts, providing an incentive to consumers seeking value for money.